Intruder arrested after breaching White House grounds
An intruder carrying a backpack entered the White House grounds late Friday and was arrested at an entrance near the part of the building where the president resides, the US Secret Service and CNN said on Saturday.
President Donald Trump, who was in the White House at the time, was not in any danger from the security breach, CNN reported, citing an unnamed source.
Neither the Secret Service nor the White House responded immediately to a request for further details.
The male suspect scaled the South Grounds fence at the White House complex at 11:38 p.m. and was arrested by uniformed officers, the Secret Service said in a statement.
He was apprehended near the south portico entrance, where presidents often address the public, CNN said. The entrance is near the president’s residence.
The backpack carried by the intruder was screened and searched as a precaution, and no hazardous material was found, according the statement. The Secret Service searched the north and south grounds but nothing of concern turned up.
Two years ago, a series of security breaches led to a shakeup of the agency charged with protecting the president, his family and other elected officials.
The most serious recent incident occurred in September 2014, when an Army veteran carrying a knife climbed the fence and pushed his way inside the White House before he was stopped. Another man wearing an American flag jumped the fence in November 2015. In April 2016, an intruder threw a backpack over the outer fence and then scaled it before getting arrested.
The 2014 intrusion prompted lawmakers to criticise the agency and led to the resignation of its director Julia Pierson.
Joseph Clancy, her replacement, said in February that he planned to leave the position in March, allowing Trump to name his own security chief.
The service’s credibility was also damaged in 2012 when it was revealed that members had hired prostitutes while in Colombia in advance of a trip by then-President Barack Obama.
Security for reporters entering the White House appeared to be normal on Saturday morning.